Cuba allows sale of home computers

May 3, 2008 at 8:54 AM
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HAVANA, May 3 (UPI) -- Cuba's government, while keeping an iron grip on access to the Internet, finally has allowed the sale of home computers, Havana residents said.

The BBC reports from Havana that the sale of the first legalized home computers is the latest lifting on restrictions on daily life, all initiated by President Raul Castro in recent weeks.

The report said crowds formed at the Havana's Carlos II shopping center when the sale ban was lifted, though most were just looking rather than buying. The desktops cost almost $800; the country's average wage is just under $20 a month.

The BBC said since Raul Castro took over the presidency in February from ailing older brother Fidel, he has lifted a variety of bans on consumer goods. Cubans have responded by snapping up mobile phones and DVD players.

Internet access is still restricted to some workplaces, schools and universities -- the government says the restrictions remain because it is unable to connect to giant undersea fiber-optic cables due to the U.S. trade embargo.

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